Anakpawis scores congressional whitewash of Bolante case

 

November 12-14, 2008

 

 

 

Anakpawis Partylist led a two-day Bantay Bolante (Bolante Watch) at St. Lukes Hospital where the former Agriculture Undersecretary was confi8ned. Anakpawis was joined by youth orgs Anakbayan, LFS, Karatula and KMU, KMP, NNARA-Youth, Kadamay and Bayan

 

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Photos courtesy of ANAKPAWIS Partylist

           
           

 

November12, 20008

ANAKPAWIS SCORES CONGRESSIONAL WHITEWASH OF BOLANTE CASE

"The House of Representatives is doing the bidding of Malacanang to cover-up the P728-million fertizer fund scam by calling on former Agriculture Undersecretary Joc-joc Bolante to testify on its own rigged inquiry, thus pulling the rug under the Senate's feet which has the original and credible jurisdiction over the case," Anakpawis Secretary General Cherry Clemente said.

"Let this be not an issue between the Senate and the House of Representatives for that would only divert the issue from graft and fraudulence," she said.

"We have launched a Bolante Watch to pursue this matter to the end until the real culprit behind the scam involving the fraud-tainted 2004 election of Arroyo is resolved for the sake of the exploited masses," Clemente added.

The Anakpawis partylist stood vigil at St. Lukes', a private hospital in Quezon City , to press Bolante to speak the truth.

The Congress has called for its own investigation into the fertilizer fund graft case and Bolante acknowledged the move, thus evading the Senate probe.

"We fear that this will be a blatant move to whitewash the case, a cover-up for the real culprits and beneficiaries, an utter disregard of interparliamentary courtesy, a slap on the face of justice and order, and a total tomfoolery of the Filipino people who will not stand up for such insult," Clemente said.

House Chairman for Agriculture and Food Committee Abraham Kahlil Mitra called for an investigation into the case.

"He was quick to support the bogus impeachment complaint of Atty. Oliver Lozano in the past and will not stop at nothing to kowtow to the wishes Malacanang. We see that he might do the same in his so-called 'investigation' of Bolante," Clemente said.

"Marlene Esperat has died for this and leaving the case to Malacanang's stooges in the House is unthinkable," Clemente added.

The Anakpawis party list called on the Senate to assert its independence and pursue its own investigation despite the underhanded treatment of the lower chamber. It likewise called on conscientious House representatives to thwart Arroyo's "self-serving motives" and pursue the pending impeachment case which Speaker Nograles has already passed to the House Committee on Justice.
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November 14, 2008
 

On Bolante's Senate testimony:
"It was tempest in a teacup," -- Anakpawis

"Nothing came out of it, as was expected. It was nothing but tempest in a teacup despite the stirrings of senators. Bolante is a cruel joke to two Congresses (13th and 14th), a bane to farmers saddled by poverty, a legal forum-shopper in and outside the country, a great political contortionist. It shows how corruption has been perfected to an art in this country, " Anakpawis secretary general and convenor of "Bantay Bolante" Cherry Clemente said.

"Bantay Bolante" was launched at the the start of the Senate probe Thursday. Composed mainly of agrarian and workers groups, the watch group follows up on the Senate committee report of the 13th Congress and the Commission on Audit (COA) report finding conclusive evidence of graft and plunder in the P728-million agricultural fund released before the May 2008 elections.

"While Macapagal-Arroyo has been talking about peace and stability at the UN General Assembly, here is her underling, a self-confessed friend of the First Gentleman, clearing her and Malacanang of any complicity in the case. This has earned the ire of a nation who has grown sick of corruption. It has definitely stoked the fires of agrarian unrest which has been steadily raging for centuries and a main cause of instability and war in the country today," Clemente observed.

Clemente spoke before a delegation of farmers who came to Manila seeking justice for the Hacienda Luisita masssacre victims. The November 16, 2004 massacre perpetrated by soldiers killed 14 farmers including two children.

"This is not only about fertilizers and farm inputs. This is about jobs and justice for farmers and workers. Joc-joc may be a cruel joke to Congress, but he and his cohorts certainly earned the wrath of the overwhelming majority of our people," Clemente said.
 

     
     
     
     
           
     

 

November 13, 2008
 

ANAKPAWIS SPEARHEADS 'BANTAY BOLANTE', READIES FARMERS' AFFIDAVITS,
ASKS THE SENATE PROBE: "FOR WHOM WAS THE GRAFT USED?"

MILITANTS trooped back at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City early in the morning to escort former Agriculture Undersecretary Joc-joc Bolante some 30 kilometers to the Senate in Pasay City where he was slated to appear before an inquiry into the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

The mass action was led by the Anakpawis party-list group as it spearheads a "Bantay Bolante" (Bolante Watch) to guard against any maneuverings for a cover-up on the case.

Anakpawis secretary-general Cherry Clemente said that their group has prepared a thousand affidavits of farmers affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) testifying that they have never received a cent from the fertilizer fund. The affidavits are ready to confront Bolante if the Senate calls for it.
 


"We are not after the head of Bolante; what we are more interested in is for whom was the graft used. We're after truth and justice. The anomaly has already been established. Who masterminded it, who took it away from the intended farmer beneficiaries, and who were able to use this for his or her personal gain," Clemente said.

"Malacanang has been dribbling Bolante like a basketball between the Congress, the Senate, and the Ombudsman. He once tried but failed to escape and seek refuge at the US . He was out of bounds. It's time that he refuse to be a convenient fallguy for a bigger crime stemming from Malacanang," Clemente added.
 

In case the medical doctors find Bolante's blood pressure suddenly shooting up, the Anakpawis has readied a bunch of bananas for him to munch on while at the Senate probe "so he can emulate Norberto Gonzales; we will give him all the time to chew his banana, and so he can speak without his mouth full."###

           
           
     

November 12, 2008

Biglaang pagsali ng Konggreso sa imbestigasyon kay Bolante, panibagong maniobra para pagtakpan ang katotohanan

Nagrali ngayong umaga sa harap ng St. Luke’s Hospital ang mga kasapi ng Anakpawis, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates-Youth, Kilusang Mayo Uno at Anakbayan para bantayan ang anumang posibleng maniobra sa kontrobersyal na kaso ni dating Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Joc-Joc Bolante. Nakatakdang dinggin ngayong umaga ang anomalyang kinasangkutan ni Bolante na nag-udyok sa Senado para arestuhin ito at isailalim sa imbestigasyon.

Ayon kay Cherry Clemente, Secretary-General ng Anakpawis, sa gitna ng iba’t ibang klaseng pagmamaniobra, malinaw ang plano ng Malacañang sa kaso ni Bolante.

“Kailangan nilang itago ang kabulukan at anomalya sa likod ng P728 milyon fertilizer fund. Kailangan nilang lusutan ang matinding gusot na dulot ng paggamit nila ng pondo ng bayan, hindi para sa fertilizer ng mga magsasaka, kundi para sa fertilizer ng mga tiyan ng kongresista kapalit ng pagsuporta kay Gng. Arroyo sa eleksyong 2004.”

“Habang may nakasalang na kasong impeachment at nananawagan ang mga obispo ng pagpapalit ng nasa gubyerno, si Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo mismo ang nakasalang sa muling pag-init ng usapin kay Bolante. Kaya nga ganun na lamang ang reaksyon ng mga kakampi ni Arroyo sa konggreso.”

“Pero, kahit na pilit na inililihis nila ang paghahanap ng katotohanan, hindi namin ito palulusutin. Sa Konggreso, sa Senado at sa mga korte, titiyakin namin na mabunyag ang kahindik-hindik na paglulustay ng salapi ng taumbayan ng pamilyang Arroyo para sa eleksyon.”

Binatikos rin ni Clemente ang lubhang napakabait na pagtrato ng gubyerno kay Bolante gayong matagal na niyang tinatakasan ang batas. “Ang mga tunay na kriminal na kadikit ni Arroyo ay parang VIP at napakalakas ng loob na umiwas sa pag-aresto ng senado samantalang ang mga kilalang kritiko ng gubyerno ay walang habas na kinukulong at tinatratong kriminal.”

Ayon pa kay Clemente, hindi katanggap-tanggap ang makitang malayang nakakapili ng ospital, nakakapagtakda ng petsa at lugar ng dadaluhang imbestigasyon itong si Bolante habang ang mga kasapi ng Anakpawis at iba pang organisasyong masa ay nakapiit nang walang kalaban-laban.

“Si Randall Echanis na Deputy Secretary General ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas ay nakapiit pa rin sa Manila city jail. Si Atty. Remigio Saladero na abugado ng mga manggagawa at mahihirap ay pwersahang kinuha sa kanyang bahay sa Antipolo at ikinulong sa Mindoro. Sina Bebot Borja ng Kilusang Mayo Uno sa Eastern Visayas ay mahigit isang taon na rin sa kulungan. Si Jocjoc Bolante nasa St. Lukes at pinapaikot ang Senado. Nasaan na ba ang katarungan sa ating bayan ngayon?” ###
 

     
     
           
     

 

RESS RELEASE
November 12, 2008
REFERENCE:
DANILO RAMOS, KMP Secretary-General
ROY MORILLA, Public Information Officer (63-905-421- 7305)

Peasant leaders testify anew on Joc-joc Bolante's fertilizer scam at Congress

"House committee should dissect agri department to unravel chronic corruption," - KMP

Leaders of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) testify anew regarding the fertilizer scam this time at the Committee on Agriculture and Food of the House of the Representatives, chaired by Rep. Abraham Mitra. The last wave of the group leaders' testimonies was at the senate probe on October 6, 2005 to February 2, 2006. The group had a brief discussion with the committee and they relayed that this would also tackle generally the operations of the Department of Agriculture that seem to be crammed with graft and corruption, as illustrated by the recent P218 million "Rice Scam."

"We are all on the go with these hearings regarding the fertilizer scam and corruption in the Department of Agriculture, " Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General opened in a press statement. "We know that simply testifying would endanger us, as what happened to our National Council member Nilo Arado from Panay and our Pampanga leader Ofelia "Nanay Perla" Rodriguez who was interviewed by an ABS-CBN investigative TV program, but we have to stand firm for the plain truth that we never received any fertilizer support and we peasants were used so that government officials could rake up P728 million of public fund," he added.

On the senate inquiry in 2005, 11 of the KMP national and regional leaders from Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, Panay, Bicol, Eastern Visayas and Southern Mindanao region. Also, they presented affidavits of members from all regional chapters stating that they never acquired any fertilizer subsidies. "Our National Council members are already notified to ready themselves to testify anytime the House or Senate calls on them," Ramos stated.

"We are hopeful that Rep. Mitra and the agri committee do not take their eyes of Joc-joc Bolante and the Department of Agriculture. While Bolante had facilitated the malversation of P728 million, agriculture secretary Arthur Yap facilitated the P218 million `Rice Scam', P135 million `Veggie Scam,' and `Swine Scam, the agriculture department has become a conduit of corruption, instead of serving the peasants,' observed Ramos.

Recently, Arroyo has announced the release of P17 billion fund supposedly for palay procurement of the National Food Authority (NFA). "This is very dangerous as this is very big, and again it is ill-timed, farmers have already harvested and sold it to the traders, meaning only the traders would benefit from it, not the poor farmers. Moreover, once the Department of Agriculture have a hold on it, who knows what would they do with it, as with other scams," Ramos commented.

KMP believes that before the Department of Agriculture be given huge funds, Secretary Yap should clarify first the controversial issues that hound his department.

Regarding the fertilizer fund, the group believes that the House committee should dig deeper, resolutely inquire without compromise and fear, starting from those benefited from the scam. "Those 53 governors who received then P5 million, 105 house representatives who received P3 million and mayors P2 million should explain where the funds went, and why members from our 15 regional and 65 provincial chapters received none of those subsidies, this is a contradiction in statement between the rich and powerful on one side and poor and powerless on the other side," Ramos contrasted

 

The list of recipient-governmen t officials of the questionable funds came from the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) with no. E-04-00164, issued on February 3, 2004, shared by the office of then Budget and Management Secretary Emilia Boncodin. Broken down, P265 million went to governors, P407 million to house representatives and P56 million to mayors.

"We all know that the period of issuance was already on the campaign of the presidential election that time, and the recipients were majorly identified with the administration. Added to this, it was already harvest season for palay when it was released," recalled Ramos.

"There are convincing reasons for the committee to hear Bolante, they should not heed to his quirks, they should keep their integrity intact by compelling Bolante to show up. With this issue not being resolve in venues such as this, the senate's, Ombudsman and more, it would leave the primary victims, the peasants with choices outside the legal processes, being robbed, being used, being killed, no one should blame the peasantry in case," Ramos declared.#

This could also be viewed at KMP Website at

http://www.kilusangmagbubukid.org

 

     
     
     
     
     
           

 

 
 

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